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Trust in government and fiscal adjustments

  • Bursian, Dirk
  • Weichenrieder, Alfons J.
  • Zimmer, Jochen

The paper looks at the determinants of fiscal adjustments as reflected in the primary surplus of countries. Our conjecture is that governments will usually find it more attractive to pursue fiscal adjustments in a situation of relatively high growth, but based on a simple stylized model of government behavior the expectation is that mainly high trust governments will be in a position to defer consolidation to years with higher growth. Overall, our analysis of a panel of European countries provides support for this expectation. The difference in fiscal policies depending on government trust levels may help explaining why better governed countries have been found to have less severe business cycles. It suggests that trust and credibility play an important role not only in monetary policy, but also in fiscal policy.

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Paper provided by Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt in its series SAFE Working Paper Series with number 22.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:22
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  1. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "The Sustainability of Government Deficits: Implications of the Present-Value Borrowing Constraint," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 291-306, August.
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  4. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  5. Bursian, Dirk & Faia, Ester, 2013. "Trust in the monetary authority," SAFE Working Paper Series 14, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
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  14. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  15. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  16. Luigi Zingales, 2011. "The role of trust in the 2008 financial crisis," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 235-249, September.
  17. Haug, Alfred A, 1991. "Cointegration and Government Borrowing Constraints: Evidence for the United States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(1), pages 97-101, January.
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  19. Hakkio, Craig S & Rush, Mark, 1991. "Is the Budget Deficit "Too Large?"," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 429-45, July.
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